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I can’t change any system files from cmd

I forgot the Windows 7 password on my own computer, I used the trick described in Resetting Your Forgotten Windows Password:

  1. Boot from the Windows 7 repair ISO.

  2. Execute:

    copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
    
  3. Use the Sticky Keys feature of the log in screen (now the command prompt) to execute:

    net user Admin MyNewPassword
    

I kept the file there in case I ever forgot it again.

A client of mine asked if I could do the same for him, and he also has a PC with Windows 7 Home x86.

I followed the same steps as on my computer. The command of step 2 says it was successful, but when press Shift five times to trigger Sticky Keys, the regular message for sethc.exe opens up.

I tried entering the command of step 3 directly from the repair ISO. This claimed to be successful as well, but the password was not changed!

What I'm doing wrong?

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marked as duplicate by Diago, Diogo, 8088, slhck Jan 27 '13 at 13:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Why are you replacing tools? What version of Windows 7 is your client using exactly. Please clarify all details to only what must be shared. –  Ramhound Jan 24 '13 at 16:48
    
Any chance your client has two different Windows partitions? –  Dennis Jan 24 '13 at 18:15

1 Answer 1

I would not recommend you to reset your password by this method, this is actually a method that cracker used to grant administrative rights. This is a vulnerability of windows that allow user to use a CMD with administrative rights before login.

If you forget to recover your sethc.exe with the original one, you are leaving a backdoor for everyone to access your computer with administrative rights without login. (If you can reset your password, everyone can do the same.)

If you want to reset your password, I would recommend you to use Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor or PC Login Now v2.0.Both of them are bootdisks, which you can burn to CD or install on a USB drive.

Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor is completely text based while PC Login Now v2.0 have a graphcal interface, which may be easier to use.

For more information, you can visit:

  • How To Reset a Windows 7 Password:

  • pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/ht/reset-password-windows-7.htm

  • Offline NT Password & Registry Editor on About.com:

  • pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/gr/offlinentpwed.htm

  • PC Login Now v2.0 on About.com:

  • pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/gr/pcloginnow.htm

p.s. Sorry that I can't add more than two hyperlinks as I am a new user.

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2  
The offline windows password and registry editor is fairly well known. I'm less familiar with PC Login Now, and well, the site looks dodgy. –  Journeyman Geek Jan 26 '13 at 11:00

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